21 September 2014, Male’; Speaking on the 49th anniversary of the Maldives’ membership at the United Nations. Ms Dunya Maumoon, Minister of Foreign Affairs noted that Maldives was the first so-called “micro state” to ask to join the United Nations. The Maldives’s request sparked a debate on the viability of micro-states and their ability to contribute effectively to the global issues. “The story of the Maldives, is the story of all small states at the United Nations. The Maldives journey at the UN, is proof that with smart ideas, small states can successfully contribute and become significant members of the international community,”Minister Dunya said. The Maldives was admitted to the United Nations on 21 September 1965, just 57 days after its full independence on 26 July 1965.
During the past 49 years of its membership at the United Nations, the Maldives has spearheaded countless initiatives, especially on the security and resilience of small states. The Maldives hosted the first ever Conference of Small States twenty five years ago, titled “Small States Conference on Sea Level Rise”. The idea of forming the Alliance of Small Island Developing States (AOSIS) was born at this meeting. AOSIS today, is the key platform for the discussion of issues of small states. The Maldives introduced key resolutions at the United Nations General Assembly that highlighted the vulnerabilities of small states to external threats and focused on increasing the political resilience of those countries. The Maldives also hosted the first ever Conference on the Human Dimensions of Global Climate Change, and spearheaded efforts at the United Nations Human Rights Council, to establish the link between global warming and the full enjoyment of human rights. Efforts and leadership of the Maldives secured the introduction of the mandate for an independent expert on the issue of human rights obligations related to the enjoyment of a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment.
Apart from issues of small states, the Maldives has been an agent of change for a number of issues of global significance. It has been an active and productive member of the United Nations Human Rights Council since 2010 having being elected by the highest number of votes for a small state. At the Human Rights Council, the Maldives has been a vocal advocate on issues of women, children, the disabled, the environment and the situation of human rights around the globe. The Maldives led efforts to establish a Voluntary Trust Fund to assist LDCs and SIDS in the work of the Human Rights Council. Following its graduation from the UN List of Least Developed Countries, the Maldives led efforts to secure additional transitional benefits for newly graduated countries, and raised concerns about the criteria used for graduation by the UN as negatively impacting Small Island Developing States.
The Maldives remains a stauch believer of the principles enshrined in the United Nations Charter and the purpose of the United Nations. The Maldives firmly believes that the United Nations still remains the most legitimate forum for discussion of issues that are of global significance. It remains the only forum where every nation in the world, big or small, has an equal say. As it begins the countdown to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of membership, the Maldives will strive to increase its role at the United Nations through increased activism, generating smart ideas, providing leadership, on all issues of international peace and security.
The United Nations has been a trusted partner and a staunch advocate for the Maldives and its people throughout the years. The Government and the people of the Maldives greatly welcome the support of the United Nations has extended to the Maldives at numerous junctures. The Government of the Maldives especially appreciates the close and warm relationship with the United Nations Country Team in the Maldives.
Forty nine years ago, the Maldives affirmed our faith in the United Nations; as a shining example of equality, hope and peace, and joined the community of nations to ultimately achieve freedom from want, and freedom from fear. The Maldives will continue on its journey at the UN, providing smart ideas, offering solutions to all issues of global interest.